It’s funny how being laid off really puts all of your workplace problems into perspective. The Wall Street Journal reports that more and more men are claiming they are victims of sexual harassment:
Since the start of the recession, a growing number of sexual harassment complaints have come from men. Some 16.4% of all sexual harassment claims—or 2,094 claims—were filed by men in fiscal 2009, up from 15.4%, or 1,869 claims, in fiscal 2006, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
While male victims sometimes experience behavior like groping and unwanted sexual advances, employment lawyers say increasingly “locker room” type behavior like vulgar talk and horseplay with sexual connotations have been the subject of claims.
Has there been an outbreak of office grab-ass that I’m not aware of? Not quite. Instead, there has been an outbreak of men losing their jobs …
Williams Mullen is a prominent Richmond-based law firm that is “100 years strong,” according to its website. For 18 of those years, Vietnam native Hanh Nguyen Allgood, 53, was a case manager for the firm. She left in March 2007.
Apparently, the departure was not “all good” with her. She has filed a $950,000 lawsuit against the firm, alleging discrimination and sexual harassment, according to Style Weekly.
Litigation partner Robert Eicher bears the brunt of Allgood’s sexual harassment allegations. According to her complaint [PDF], he asked when he first met her whether “her vagina was vertical or horizontal,” a reference to “a horrible racial slur bandied about by some American soldiers during the Viet Nam War contending that Vietnamese women had vertical vaginas.”
And then there was the cucumber incident….
UPDATE: A statement from the firm has been added after the jump.
We have another episode in the saga of Deidre Dare, one of our favorite laid-off lawyers. She was an attorney in Allen & Overy’s Russia office until she penned typed a salacious online novel about her expat adventures, which featured lots of drinking, sex, drugs, donkeys, and dwarves. After the firm let her go, she sued.
Dare’s still in Moscow, where she writes an often controversial column for the Moscow News called sExpat. The latest reveals that Deidre likes it rough:
Anyone who has spent even five minutes in bed with me knows that I have a strong proclivity for S&M. My experience in the area ranges from the mild (spanking) to the extreme (ball gags, golden showers and the like), according to how much experience my partner has and what he or she likes.
The column goes on to praise Russia’s abusive men. Dare writes: “If you’re hanging out with real men and you’re a little slutty, you’re going to get hit. Period.” Roll On Friday photoshops A&O’s chairman into being a “real man” here.
Ed. note: We at Above The Law do not condone physical violence against women. We do, however, condone violence against the commenter ShaFeef.
In a previous column, Dare said money was tight and suggested that prostitution might be a way out of her money woes. That might have led to more hitting than even Deidre likes. Luckily, she’s come up with a different way to make money. She’s written another book. Its title, fittingly, is SLUT.
Summer associates have landed at offices across the nation. They’re working harder this year, even if some of the work is fake, and they’re eating out less often. But the Biglaw recruits are still having fun — sometimes too much fun.
We’ve been asking you about the big events for this year’s summers — concerts, movie previews, booze cruises, etc. Look out for contest finalists soon!
Cadwalader may have already established itself as a front runner in the competition. Last week, the firm took its summers to see a Mets game. Afterwards, some of the attorneys and summers went from Shea to shady. [FN1] From a knowledgeable source:
After the game, some of the male associates took some of the male summers out for some “after-event” bonding. The problem with this bonding is that it was a trip to the strip club. I’m not sure if the firm knew about the afterparty event or if it was sanctioned by or expensed to the firm, but this certainly seems to send a message of exclusion to women; or at least — even if any female summers attended (which none did) — that the firm not only tolerated but supported the objectification / degradation of women that occurs at these venues.
The firm was aware of the outing, but it doesn’t support these Cadwalader cads. The official response, after the jump.
Yesterday we introduced you to DB (not his real name — please keep it that way), formerly an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. At S&C, and in law school before that, DB became notorious for bragging about his wealth and making politically incorrect remarks.
We collected some of his impolitic quips in our prior post, and other anecdotes surfaced in the comments (e.g., here and here). For your reading pleasure, here are a few more stories:
In law school, at a firm reception in the Time Warner center, DB got drunk and started going on about how he was wearing crocodile shoes that cost thousands of dollars and how his brother drove a more expensive car than the partners at the host firm.
At an S&C firm retreat, the same one where he made his comments about the ballet, DB was placed in charge of entertainment for one evening. This included brainstorming for the “S&C Superlatives” contest, which is supposed to feature innocuous, yearbook-style items like “Miss Congeniality,” “Best Smile,” or “Most Athletic.”
The items suggested by DB? “Sluttiest Partner” and “Partner Most Likely To Sleep With His Secretary.”
DB once said, to a highly attractive summer associate he encountered in the hallway, “You really aren’t that hot. Everyone thinks you are, but outside of here you really aren’t.”
In fairness to DB, he has his defenders and positive attributes. One tipster describes him as “a bright guy,” and another as “nice in a weird way,” as well as unusually generous and thoughtful at times. A third raves about his hotness, including “six-pack abs and amazing arms.” As for the sexist (and homophobic) quips, they may be best attributed not to malice, but to personal issues that DB is probably still working through.
His colorful comments, however, aren’t what got DB in truly hot water. Find out what did, after the jump.
Ah, Sullivan & Cromwell. It’s a top law firm — not just in prestige and profits, but also blog fodder. See, e.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda (partner who defrauded firm and clients of half a million dollars through expense fraud); Aaron Charney (associate who sued the firm for antigay discrimination, while still employed there).
When people leave 125 Broad Street, they go out with a bang. Today, courtesy of several tipsters, we bring you the tale of another former SullCrom employee who departed under less than ideal circumstances. Let’s call him “DB,” short for “douchebag.”
(To those of you who find the term offensive, we say: if it’s good enough for the Second Circuit, it’s good enough for ATL. Also, we use it affectionately.)
During law school, DB developed a reputation “as a racist, sexist jerkoff who always flaunted the fact that he was wealthy.” Here’s why:
His first words upon meeting his law school roommates: “Hi, I’m DB. I’m independently wealthy.”
In a class discussion about price discrimination and consumer choice, he said: “Sometimes when I’m in a real hurry, I am forced to fly coach.”
At a law firm reception, he said to the attorneys, “Don’t you miss the good old days when there were no girls at a place like this, except for hookers and strippers?”
This charming lad then made his way to 125 Broad Street, where he joined GP (general practice; S&C-speak for “Corporate”) at Sullivan. Now, S&C pays well — in addition to generous base salaries and year-end bonuses, they pay supplemental bonuses to senior associates. But DB was unimpressed:
“My allowance used to be bigger than whatever I earn from this place. I feel so poor now that I’m working.”
My friend Anna is a summer wife.
You see, her “summer” husband, Abraham, does what all high-powered law firm partners do each summer: he dispatches his wife to the summer home in the Hamptons or Shelter Island or Martha’s Vineyard.
This allows Biglaw partners to supper in the city with the single senior (or summer) associates. I mean, these guys can’t be alone at dinnertime. They have to supper with someone, so why not with an associate who is close by or, better yet, in the same office?
One night, after I meet Abraham, I ask him about his family in exile, and how he is adjusting to their absence from his day- to-day life. He says: “Well, it’s better for the kids to be out there in the summer…. They have the beach, their grandparents are there….”
Blah. Blah. Blah. We’re in the midst of a global warming crisis; we’re all supposed to be wearing SPF 45, even when just driving in our cars. Do the kids really need that much sun and sea? And is it really benefiting them if their father is absent from their lives most days of the week? Or is this arrangement really better for you, Abraham?
Read more, after the jump.
Apparently, breeding doesn’t evolve from meeting a person you like, going out to dinner, having a drink or two, and letting nature take its course. It comes from a woman’s eyes signaling that she “desperately want[s] to be laid on the boardroom table as soon as [a man gives] the word.” Or so says a Russian judge.
A 22-year-old sued her employer for sexual harassment after being locked out of her office for refusing to get it on with her boss. After reading this story (which we mentioned in passing the other day), we conclude that Russia sucks for women. From the Daily Telegraph:
“If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children,” the judge ruled.
Since Soviet times, sexual harassment in Russia has become an accepted part of life in the office, work place and university lecture room.
According to a recent survey, 100 per cent of female professionals said they had been subjected to sexual harassment by their bosses, 32 per cent said they had had intercourse with them at least once and another seven per cent claimed to have been raped.
Eighty per cent of those who participated in the survey said they did not believe it possible to win promotion without engaging in sexual relations with their male superiors.
Women also report that it is common to be browbeaten into sex during job interviews, while female students regularly complain that university professors trade high marks for sexual favours.
Although many tipsters emailed us about it, we never wrote about this buzz-generating Wall Street Journal article, reporting on how many older lawyers are displeased by the overly informal, even sloppy attire of their younger colleagues. We didn’t write about it earlier because we felt preempted: the piece received lots of online attention, from such widely read outlets as the ABA Journal and the WSJ Law Blog, where it generated heavy comment traffic.
But now we have a new angle on it. Focus on these portions of Christina Binkley’s WSJ article:
[Winston & Strawn D.C. managing partner Thomas Mills] says he is partial to well-fitted Brioni suits for himself. He notes that the going rate for new associates in New York, Los Angeles and Washington is $160,000 a year — enough to buy suits while paying down school loans. Yet all too often, associates show up at work in jeans — attire that he doesn’t condone “unless it’s moving day.”
Winston & Strawn brought in a personal shopper from a local department store last year to address associates on how to shop and dress for work. Mr. Mills says that when some associates do make an effort to dress up, they seem to base their look on Hollywood. “You get the TV-woman lawyer look with skirts 12 inches above the knee and very tight blouses,” he says. “They have trouble sitting and getting into taxis.”
These remarks apparently didn’t go over too well back at Winston:
W&S DC office’s managing partner comes off as a total a**. His comments re: his custom suits are one thing. But his comments re: the way women in the office dress have created a stir….
People are seriously pissed, particularly the women. Man comes off as a total pig…. Read the article, you’ll see why.
This is prime ATL material. Firm has called impromptu associates meeting for 9:30 Monday, no topic given. But the guess is it is damage control.
The guess was correct. More about the meeting, after the jump.
We love tales of misbehaving DAs. And this one is a doozy. From the Houston Chronicle:
New e-mails released Tuesday show District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sent and received racist jokes and strategized with political consultants and colleagues about his re-election campaign on his county e-mail account.
Also within the correspondence obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle were numerous sexually explicit images. It was unclear, however, if Rosenthal ever forwarded those files.
Those were just for his personal wank collection.
Among e-mails that concerned Woodfill were video clips of nudity and sex acts and a racist joke forwarded by Rosenthal that compares former President Bill Clinton to a black man. The e-mail says Clinton played the saxophone, smoked marijuana and gets a check from the government each month.
Pot always struck us as more of a white person’s drug, but whatever.
Also included within the e-mails is heavy traffic between Rosenthal and Sam Siegler, Rosenthal’s physician and the husband of Kelly Siegler, who is running for district attorney. In one e-mail from Sam Siegler to Rosenthal, an attached video shows women having their breasts exposed after men forcibly pulled down their blouses in public. The video called the act “sharking.”
Kelly Siegler dismissed her husband’s e-mails. “He cusses like a sailor and his sense of humor is crude, to put it mildly,” she said. “It’s his computer and what he does at work is his business. He’s the boss.”
Stand by your man, Kelly. As long as there’s no kiddie porn in those emails, it’s all good.
Oh, and Rosenthal also sent “intimate e-mails to his executive secretary.” More details, after the jump.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.